Gadi Mirrabooka, which means Below the Southern Cross, contains thirty-three Dreaming stories from the Australian Aboriginal culture, recognized as the oldest continual culture on earth.
The stories in this collection, unlike many previous collections of Aboriginal stories, are told by Aboriginal storyteller custodians: June Barker, Francis Firebrace and Pauline McLeod (Pauline from the ABC program Playschool).
In the past, people have gathered, plundered and published books of Aboriginal stories, regardless of whether they are secret stories for use in initiation rites, or for public use. This was usually done, without first seeking permission to use them. In many cases, a number of these stories were altered–or sanitized–to suit the prevailing sensitivities and values of that era. These acts deeply offended the Aboriginal people.
The storytellers, who have shared stories for Gadi Mirrabooka, are all respected Aboriginal elders and cultural educators, who use their knowledge to educate their younger generation, as well as, the wider Australian community. The stories have not been altered or sanitized for specific audiences, but are authentic oral stories, passed down through many generations. All have been approved for public telling.
The Dreamtime; the period of creation before time–as we know it, existed–is known to the Aboriginal people as the Dreaming, where the very essence of human nature came to be understood. The lessons of this period of enlightenment; the ability to live in peace and harmony with all around you, are encapsulated within the Dreaming and passed on to the next generation in the oral traditions.
Dreamtime is a word first used by an anthropologist, in the early 1900’s, to define what he saw as a religion. He used this word to describe the all-encompassing mystical period of Aboriginal beginning.
However, the Aboriginal people do not worship any single Deity or other Gods. They built no monoliths, memorials or idols, nor did they have an organized religion. They lived by the lores of the various Creator and Ancestral Spirits of the diverse landscapes, the sky, the creatures and plants of Australia.